DESIGN DETAILS OF INTEGRAL BRIDGES By Eugenia Roman1, Yasser Khodair2, and Sophia Hassiotis3


Res. Asst., Dept. of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ; Structural Engineer for Hardesty & Hanover, LLP, Hoboken, NJ 2 Res. Asst., Dept. of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ 3 Assoc. Prof., Dept. of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ ABSTRACT: Integral bridges have been found to outperform jointed bridges, decreasing maintenance costs, and enhancing the life expectancy of the superstructures. However, a standard design method for integral bridges does not exist. Several factors must still be investigated to gain a better understanding of the behavior of integral abutments, and the factors that influence their analysis, design, detailing, and construction. In this paper, we will be investigating the deckstringer-abutment continuity details. Most connections are designed as rigid by using adequate reinforcement detailing between the slab, girders and abutment. However, 1) cracking on the deck has been observed, 2) the detailing may vary as a function of structure geometry. In this work, we are evaluating design details that have been standardized for a variety of applications, and we are suggesting the next step in research that will result in final design specifications for integral abutments.

INTRODUCTION The use of an integral abutment eliminates the need for deck joints and expansion bearings. The absence of joints and bearings significantly reduces costs during construction. More significantly, maintenance costs are also reduced since deck joints, which allow water to leak onto substructure elements and accelerate deterioration, are not needed. In addition, future widening or bridge replacement becomes easier, since the simple design of the integral abutment lends itself to simple structural modification. The design of the replacement structure for the Scotch Road over Route I-95 structure, located in Ewing and Hopewell Townships in New Jersey, has implemented integral abutments. The existing Scotch Road Bridge is a 45m-span composite steel structure supported on conventional abutments. The proposed structure is a 2-span continuous composite steel structure with integral abutments skewed at approximately 15o. High Performance Steel (HPS) has been specified for the stringers. The Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) method has been used to yield a more efficient structure. The research herein pertains to the response of this structure to loading and seasonal temperature variations. Particularly, we will investigate the issues and concerns that are associated with integral abutment construction details, which include the deck slab, the approach slab the abutment, and the supporting pile foundation. Figure 1 depicts the integral abutment detail that will be used on Scotch Road.


“Bridges and Structures Design Manual”. The other type has an expansion joint between the bridge deck and the approach slab as in non-integral abutment bridges (Fig. 4 New Jersey Department of Transportation. Integral Abutment Detail to be used on Scotch Road Bridge. Note formed rebar to establish connection between the abutment beam and the approach slab. Plate No. 2)4. 2. Third Edition 1998. Figure 2.3-1 (modified for clarity) 2 .13-1 (modified for clarity) 5 New Jersey Department of Transportation. There are two main types of approach slabs. Integral Abutment Detail.Figure 1. Figure 4 depicts the approach slab detail that will be used on Scotch Road. Figure 3. Third Edition 1998. Convention Abutment Detail. 3)5. 3. APPROACH SLAB INTERFACE JOINTS Approach slabs are used to provide a smooth transition and span the problematic area between road pavements and bridge decks. “Bridges and Structures Design Manual”. Note the gap between the edge of the approach slab and the edge of the header. one type is tied to the abutment as in integral abutment bridges (Fig. Plate No.

Furthermore. This cracking has developed due to void development and loss of support under approach slabs. Transverse cracking due to vehicular live load usually occur solely in the right or middle lanes as a result of extensive traffic flow. Longitudinal cracking also develops on approaches with voids under the approach slab (Schaefer et al. Moreover. Inadequate design of joints may result in crack development in approach slabs.Figure 4. Wahls (1990) suggests that the performance of integral abutments could be improved by the development of new compressible elastic materials to be installed between the abutment and the surrounding backfill. The primary task of the joints is to transfer vehicular live loads and thermal loads to the approach slab. transverse cracking has been observed in all lanes at the end of the dowel bars extending from the bridge abutment. For example. which permits cyclic abutment movements to create voids between the backfill and the abutment. Transverse cracking usually occurs due to one or more of three major factors: 1) heavy vehicular live loads. The detailing of the joints at the ends of approach slabs in integral abutment bridges plays an essential role in the determination of its ductility and rotational capacity. 3 . Both longitudinal and transverse cracking take place in approach slabs. North Dakota adopted the design illustrated in Figure 5 to provide a pressure relief mechanism between the backfill and the abutment. (Khodair. 2) settlement of the backfill soil and 3) void development under the approach slab. 1992). Approach slab detail to be used on the Scotch Road bridge. 2001). Moreover.. This mechanism relies on providing a void space of 4” between the abutment and its backfill. most backfill materials are not perfectly elastic. As a result. the piles were drilled in oversized holes. The holes were backfilled with sand to accommodate the movement of the abutment and the piles. some states resorted to using special details in order to accommodate the cyclic movement of the abutment.

Special Integral Abutment Design. However. Use crack sealers Realizing the observations that other researchers have made. Their research assigned a numerical rating to the condition of the bridge deck. respectively. the concrete placement sequence adopted by the contractor. DECK SLAB CONCERNS Secondary stresses in the bridge deck caused by thermal changes and settlement of the substructure can be significantly greater than those permitted by current design specifications. Connections between the static abutments and the moving deck/superstructure can be stressed and crack if a significant temperature change was to occur during the initial concrete setting or if proper construction inspection methods were not adhered to during the setting. the lower the condition and performance ratings were for the deck. Place deck slabs and continuity connections at night 3. and supporting piles. Alampalli and Yannotti (1998) inspected and rated 30 steel superstructure bridges with integral abutments at varying skews. A main part of our research includes the instrumentation of the 4 . Burke (1999) has noted typical patterns of early-age cracking in the decks of integral bridges. Place continuity connection at sunrise 2. and the stresses resulting from the cyclical loading of the deck. North Dakota (Wahls. Place continuity connections after deck slab placement 4. In addition.Figure 5. the following procedures have evolved: 1. transverse cracks at relatively uniform spacing have also been a major concern for bridge designers and contractors. approach slab and abutment stem. He concludes that that such cracking has occurred as a result of insufficient continuous temperature and shrinkage reinforcement in the deck slabs over the end-diaphragms. To prevent the occurrence of stressing/cracking. the approach slab and the abutment stem. 1990). our research is concentrating on the integral connection detailed by the designer. approach slab. Both diagonal and straight cracks occasionally develop at the acute corners and over (previously) placed concrete end diaphragms. the abutment. Analysis of the condition ratings of the sample bridges indicated that the greater the skew of the bridge deck. a study performed by Mourad and Tabsh (1999) has found that the maximum transverse stresses in the deck slab can be 25-50% lower using an integral abutment configuration rather than the simply supported configuration.

Mourad. Journal of Bridge Engineering. National Academy Press. 1990. 1997. Washington.C. D.. We are in the process of installing instrumentation at the Scotch Road Bridge during the construction phase. 5. NCHRP Synthesis of Highway Practice 234: Settlement of Bridge Approaches “Bump at the End of the Bridge”. Paper No. Stacey B.. REFERENCES 1. In an attempt to investigate this problem further. These will give the stresses present at the connection. 98-0540. Ray W and Hoffman. 5 . “Cracking of Concrete Decks and Other Problems with Integral-Type Bridges”.principal components of the integral connection in an effort to quantify the movements and loads realized at this connection. 2001. Briaud. “Void Development under Bridge Approaches”. The results of this study will add to the base knowledge of integral bridges. Synthesis of Highway Practice 159. May 1999. 2. Burke. (1998). Transportation Research Record 1688. This information. (1999). 99-0104. 6. Shehab and Tabsh. Data will be collected and analyzed for a three-year period. the Scotch Road Bridge will be instrumented during construction. will be analyzed for continuity and efficiency. Jay C (1992). Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Strain gages are placed at the girders. “Design and Construction of Bridge Approaches”. National Research Council. Master of Science Thesis. TRB(1997). Load cells on the abutment wall will measure soil pressures developed behind the abutment. Vernon R and Koch. Tiltmeters placed on the girders will measure the rotation of the abutment. modifications to the implemented integral connection detail and the construction sequence will be suggested for use on future projects. (1999). Sreenivas and Yannotti. 4. Rutgers University. South Dakota Department of Transportation. and on sister bars inside the abutment/superstructure connection. Schaefer. Sami W. Arthur P. “In-Service Performance of Integral Bridges and Jointless Decks”. CONCLUSIONS Through an extensive literature search on the subject of integral abutments and their connection details to the deck slab and approach slab. NCHRP (1990). “Finite Element Modeling of Approach and Transition Slabs”. D. November 1992. it is apparent that there is still a great deal of research to be performed on these structures. Alampalli. Jean-Louis. along with the construction details and implemented construction procedures. Final Report No SD90-03. Load cells in front of the piles will measure possible loads imposed by the integral connection on the retaining wall at the foot of the bridge. If necessary. “Deck Slab Stresses In Integral Abutment Bridges”. Martin P. Paper No. Transportation Research Board. Data will be collected at regular intervals to account for variation in loading and in thermal conditions. Washington.C. Khodair. 3. Transportation Research Record 1624. Jr. 7. Yasser A (2001). James. piles.

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